After the “Fall 2” sports season of the 2020-2021 school year, this upcoming volleyball season is a refreshing step toward getting back on the track it’s used to being on. While coaches, athletes, and fans still have to abide by the current mandate set in place by the MIAA, there were a few changes made for this current season. Rising vaccination numbers over the summer likely played a large part in fewer restrictions. For example, we no longer have to maintain a 6-foot distance among each other, although we try our best to keep distancing in mind for the safety of our team members, as well as their family and friends.
Fall 2, the alternate fall sports season that ran this past March and April, called for strict social distancing, mask-wearing and no spectators, as well; however, games were live-streamed for family and friends to watch from home. There were no “good luck” / ”good game” high fives between teams nor was there a normal sideline bench setup, a few of the many curveballs thrown toward our season.
The schools that the Redhawks faced were also very different from those they’re used to seeing. To limit exposure over a large part of the state, Frontier was limited to the Franklin County Bubble, playing schools such as Greenfield, Mohawk, and Turners Falls, as opposed to our usual rivals like Melrose, Westborough, and even Barnstable out on the Cape. Due to this unusual schedule, we went into the season very much in the dark in terms of what our competition would look like, but we came out the other side with a perfect record, not dropping a single set to any team.
After growing comfortable with a less competitive schedule, as well as losing 8 seniors, the remaining varsity team members walked off the court in April with anticipation, and likely a bit of anxiety, towards this current season. While there is immense promise among both our new and returning players, losing a good number of our previous leaders called for a huge adjustment from the both the girls and coach, Sean MacDonald. Going from a squad of 18 to only 14, selecting a solid group was no easy feat for MacDonald. Graduating players such as Olivia Deane, Reilly Isler, and Olivia Rosewarne left behind some pretty big shoes to fill, but having a smaller roster allows more girls the opportunity to become dominant team members, on and off the court.
Following a whole summer of captain’s practices and summer league scrimmages, although we’re young, and a majority of the girls are new to the varsity level, MacDonald appears to have plenty of confidence in his roster this year. After facing off against Lee, Minnecaug, Amherst, Longmeadow, and Westfield, the varsity team is currently 4-1, an impressive record given the teams’ skill levels.
Both Coach MacDonald, and the girls of the Frontier Volleyball program are excited to see where this new season leads, with the ultimate goal of coming home with more hardware for the collection.